Trump picks school-choice advocate for education secretary
Tribune Washington Bureau
— President-elect Donald Trump chose a Michigan charter school advocate and prominent Republican donor to serve as his secretary of Education, he said Wednesday, a decision that may hearten supporters of school choice but worry teacher unions — and even some of Trump’s core supporters.
Trump’s pick, Betsy DeVos, is a champion of charter schools and school vouchers that give families tax funds they can spend on private school if they’re not happy with their local public schools.
DeVos, 58, served as chairwoman of the Michigan Republican Party, a credential that ties her to the party establishment reviled by many Trump supporters.
She and her family are among the country’s largest donors to Republican and conservative Christian causes, including opposition to same-sex marriage.
She has also backed the Common Core initiative to standardize educational requirements across the nation. Trump repeatedly called for its demise.
In a tweet after her selection was announced, DeVos disavowed past support for Common Core, acknowledging that the topic was an issue among conservative activists.
In his statement announcing her as his choice, Trump called DeVos a “brilliant and passionate” education advocate.
“Under her leadership, we will reform the U.S. education system and break the bureaucracy that is holding our children back so that we can deliver world-class education and school choice to all families,” Trump said in the statement.
President-elect Donald Trump with Betsy DeVos, whom Trump has chosen as his secretary of education, on Nov. 19 in Bedminster, N.J.